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Source: Raju Dandu, 785-826-2629,
Photo available. Contact or 785-532-6415.

Monday, April 20, 2009


SALINA -- Members of Kansas State University's Mini-Baja Team are getting ready to put the four-wheel, off-road vehicle they built to a major test.

The seven-member team will compete at the Baja SAE Alabama, June 16-19, in Auburn, Ala. Team members, all engineering technology majors, are: Michael Drach, senior, Hutchinson; Clayton Wonsetler, senior, Inman; Melissa Scott, sophomore, Lindsborg; Steven Goodman, senior, Meriden; Devin Krahl, senior, Salina; Christopher Perdue, senior, Topeka; and Reid Rains, senior, Wallace.

"The vehicle was designed using computer-aided design and analysis software to achieve safety and excellent off-road characteristics," said Raju Dandu, professor of engineering technology at K-State at Salina.

"This year, the team's objective was to build a car with improved steering maneuverability and suspension system," Dandu said. "So the team decided to design a chassis, suspension, steering system and drive-train to match available components that maximize off-road performance."

Team members, with the help of some fellow K-State at Salina engineering technology students, even came up with a cost effective way to use a Wii remote to analyze the car weight distribution and load handling capabilities to design a better suspension system, Dandu said.

At the competition, K-State at Salina will face 100 other teams from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Venezuela and India. The first day starts with static events where the teams go through the technical inspection of cars, presentation of design and cost reports. On days two and three, the teams will be evaluated on their car's performance in acceleration, braking, traction and maneuverability. The last day of the competition is a four-hour endurance race to test the durability of the vehicle.

"This team has a passion for learning, love for real-world experience and hopes to show the winning spirit with purple pride in the competition," Dandu said. This is a great experience where students apply their skills, knowledge, leadership, teamwork and communication skills."

The team is still accepting donations to help defray costs. "We're so grateful to our sponsors, including the K-State at Salina Student Governing Association, the campus community and local industry," Dandu said.